I feel, that 市の名前 as [name of the city] is somewhat unnatural, but I can not explain to myself why I should use 都市の名前 instead. Jisho says that 市 is a noun and no restriction to use it.

Maybe the problem is just in sounding?

For example, if we use 市の名前 it is ok in written text but in speech it becomes [shi-no-namae] = [name of death] or [itchi-no-namae] = [name of one], and only for that reason Japanese use 都市の名前 which produces nicely [toschi-no-mae] = [city's name] = [name of city].

Is that logic right?

1 Answer 1


To begin with, 都市 and 市 are different concepts, and they are usually not interchangeable. Please read this first: What is the difference between 市, 都市, 都会 and 市街

市の名前 is a perfectly valid and natural expression as long as you know you are actually referring to some 市. But when you don't know the name of a city, you may not know if its really a 市, either, so 都市の名前 may be the more useful choice in many situations. For example, New York and Paris are both undoubtedly 都市, and I know New York is a 市, but I don't know if Paris is technically a 市...

  • When you do not know if Paris is 市 or not, what options do you have to choose between? Ok, we do not know if Paris is 市 or not, what else it can be in your mind if not 市? Can we strictly say, that if XYZ city has mayor, than it is 100% 市, but if no mayor, that XYZ city is 100% not 市?
    – Tchibi-kun
    Commented Jun 22, 2019 at 18:00
  • @Tchibi-kun As I said, 都市 is a good catch-all term. For example, Washington D.C. is a "special district" and not technically a city/市, but it's safely a 都市 just because there is a metropolitan area and many people live there. According to this, France has no equivalent concept of Japanese 市, but Paris is a 都市, anyway. Ultimately, if you want to know whether you can use 市, you have to learn the naming rules and translation conventions for each country.
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 2:55
  • I was playing with Jisho.org and suddenly found 市名 [shimei] city name jisho.org/word/市名-1 But wadoku.de says there is no word 市名. What do you think: does 市名 exists and can it be used as 100% equivalent to 都市の名前?
    – Tchibi-kun
    Commented Jun 23, 2019 at 20:59
  • @Tchibi-kun 村名, 町名, 市名, 区名 and 都市名 all exist. 市名 and 都市の名前 are not the same simply because 市 and 都市 are not the same.
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 1:03
  • 1) Ok, I got 市 and 都市 are not the same. 2) I could not find 区名 in Jisho.org, which means 区名 is just 区の名 without の. As far as I understand we can kill の if there is 100% guarantee that meaning without の is free. If 区の名 and 区名 mean different things, than we can not kill の. 3) Thanks to you I've found some wow-word in Jisho.org that is 市区町村名. Can you belive that?! Jisho says, that it means name of city, ward, town or village at the same time!! Maybe 市区町村名in English it is better translate as [populated area name]? Is 市区町村名 works only for Japan or can be used for other countries?
    – Tchibi-kun
    Commented Jun 24, 2019 at 11:23

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